Are Chronic Headaches Linked to Screen Time?

Is it possible that your chronic headaches are caused by the amount of time you spend looking at a screen each day? Unfortunately, ongoing headaches have an undeniable impact on your professional and personal life. Not only do you find it challenging to work, but sometimes debilitating headaches can make it hard to get through the day.

You deserve to enjoy your life to the fullest, which is why it is vital to find solutions to manage or eliminate the headaches you are experiencing. The first thing to consider is the amount of time you are spending in front of a screen.

What You Need to Know About Eye Strain

When you use your eyes for intense work for an extended period of time, it causes the eyes to become tired and weak. This problem is common when looking at a computer screen or other devices throughout the day. In fact, some eye doctors suggest that most people notice symptoms of eye strain after just two hours of looking at a screen.

When your eyes are focusing on the computer or a cell phone, several factors contribute to eye strain:

  • Glare from the light and screen
  • Less blinking
  • Environmental light conditions
  • The distance between the screen and your eyes
  • Poor posture
  • Intensely focusing without taking breaks

Each of these issues can take a toll on your eyes. Combine all the factors, and you are creating the ideal conditions for eye strain problems.

Headaches and Other Symptoms of Eye Strain

Chronic headaches can be a result of eye strain issues. If you notice that you are constantly experiencing headaches, addressing eye strain might be the perfect answer to alleviate your pain.

Other common symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Itching or burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tired eyes
  • Aching behind the eyes
  • Sore muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and neck

Scientific Findings: Linking Chronic Headaches with Screen Usage

The use of screens is relatively new in the history of the world. As such, research findings are in the early phases. But as more information comes to light, it is clear that screen time plays an undeniable role in chronic headaches and other health issues.

For example, a study done in 2015 found that high amounts of screen time increase the risk of migraines in young adults. In addition, this 2018 review reports that digital eye strain can cause headaches and other symptoms.

Evaluating Your Screen Usage

We live in a technology-driven world. So, it isn’t reasonable to say that you shouldn’t look at any screens during the day. But if you are experiencing chronic headaches, it might help reduce the amount of time you are staring at the screen.

Many people are surprised when they add up the number of hours they look at a screen each day. You start the day with your phone in hand: scrolling social media or catching up on the news. Your workday involves at least 8 hours, looking at a computer screen. Other extracurricular activities often involve screen time as well, such as participating in an online workout class or watching your favorite TV show as you are winding down at the end of the day.

Take an assessment of the amount of time you are looking at any type of screen. Then, start setting priorities so you can find times to reduce your screen time. For example, you might take an hour in the morning before turning on your phone. Or read a paperback book before bed instead of watching a movie.

Tips for Reducing Eye Strain and Headaches

Most people waiting for a headache to start and then use symptom management treatments to reduce the pain. Instead, a proactive approach with your screen usage can help you prevent headaches and other symptoms. It’s better to be careful about avoiding eye strain in the first place, which will help you minimize the risk of headaches.

Here are a few tips to help if you are looking for ways to reduce eye strain:

  • Take Breaks: Even if you need to be at the computer all day for work, it doesn’t mean that you have to stare at the screen endlessly. Set a timer, so you remember to look away from the screen regularly. According to the American Optometric Association, you should give your eyes a break from the screen every 20 minutes. Look at something that is a minimum of 20 feet away, giving your eyes a rest for at least 20 seconds. This is known as the 20-20-20 rule.
  • Lighting Adjustments: Try adjusting the lighting on your computer and phone to see how your eyes respond. Also, consider the lighting in the room. If you are sitting in a dimly lit room while staring at a bright screen, it can strain your eyes, leading to headaches and other problems. The best solution is to balance the lighting in the room with the brightness of your monitor.
  • Use Protective Glasses: Try using blue light glasses to see if it helps you avoid screen headaches. If you are overdue for an eye exam, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a local optometrist. It’s possible that you might need a small prescription to correct vision issues that are causing your eyes to strain throughout the day.

Addressing Other Underlying Causes of Chronic Headaches

Eye strain could be contributing to your chronic headaches. But there might be other issues as well that are adding to the problem. If you are tired of living with chronic headaches, talk to our team about pain management solutions.

We get to the root cause of your symptoms, helping you find immediate relief and answers for the future. Our goal is to help you live a full and thriving life, using the ideal combination of holistic remedies and modern medicine. Reach out to our pro team at Texas Partners Healthcare Group to discuss a personalized treatment plan and learn about available services.